How to Make Remarkable Tour Photos

Marijana Lovric

Marijana Lovric

Marketing Manager at Orioly
Marijana is a passionate web design and visual communicator who specializes in sales and internet marketing. Privately and professionally immersed in tourism, she owns her own blog ‘Kod sata’ (Engl. At the clock) where she writes hot tips and reviews of the best places to visit in Zagreb, Croatia and gives an extra grasp in their historical significance.
Marijana Lovric

The travel business is not just about selling a vacation. It’s about selling a memorable experience. The best way to promote your awesome tour is to make your potential customers feel the tourist atmosphere: excitement, fun, lust for life, pride… And how can you evoke such an atmosphere? With great tour photos.

Even better – with videos!

photo tour operator, photos, bicycle, bicyclists, people, sunset, mountains, nature, tours, activity, tour photosImage source: Huffingtonpost.com

First, we’re going to explain why to take tour photos. 90% of all purchasing decisions are made subconsciously because of emotions, not because what our brain says it’s the best solution.

This rule is especially true in the process of purchasing vacation packages. You can write several pages about how great your tour is, and how travelers have so much fun during the tour, but the description itself cannot produce big emotions. Pictures can.
In this article, you can read about the whole process of taking best pictures while you’re on your tour, and how you can use them in online promotion.

Technical Preparation

This is the boring part, but you have to do it before you go, to avoid the frustrations of not catching the right moment. You need to prepare your camera or phone and ensure that they work properly.

1. Explore the features of your camera or phone and make sure that the photo quality is as great as possible.

2. Always have your camera or smartphone with you. But be careful, protect it with a good waterproof mask or dry bag. Pelican offers great camera cases. There are several brands of cases and covers for smartphones, some of the best known are Lifeproof Nuud and Otterbox Preserver.

photo travel, photos, sunset, sea, beach, reflection, clouds, colors, camera, photo camera, canon, screen, tours, activity, vacation, tour photosImage source: Justtravelous.com

3.  Clean your camera lenses before every tour, just in case. If you’re shooting, for example, a wildlife, you need to have a camera with the longest possible zoom lens. According to Wirecutter, the best camera lenses you can attach to an iPhone, are Moment mobile lines.

4.  If you’re providing a whole-day tour, bring external battery chargers and empty your memory space. You can automatically save the pictures from your phone to your Dropbox account or on a Google Drive by activating the auto-upload function.

What, Where and When to Take Tour Photos?

To capture best tour photos you need to be in the right place at the right time. So you need to think in advance about the best places and landscapes of your tour. Detect moments that can evoke most emotions and determine when is the best light for shooting.

1. You know your area the best. Think in advance which places are most beautiful to capture, and capture them when you’re alone and while you’re on a tour. Try to take photos that capture the experience of your tours. Photo mountains, waterfalls, buildings or some forest paths that can tell a story of excitement after 5 hours trekking, the danger of the wilderness at safari tours, zen of sea horizon or a buzz at a sightseeing tour. Make the viewer feels as if he or she is there. If you’re not shooting your travelers, try to capture local people in traditional clothes, local vehicles or local food to depict a destination.

photo tour operator, travel, photos, cute, kids, children, traditional clothes, animal, funny, tours, activity, colors Image source: Tallkidtravels.com

2. Photograph your travelers in their most memorable situations. Do not take boring photos of your travelers in front of some attraction. While they are on your tour, they are experiencing much more than just a tour. They are bonding with their friends, family, other people, overcoming fear or accomplishing a personal goal. You know your tour the best and you know how people will react in every moment. Try to picture the peak of a traveler’s excitement and they will share a picture of that special moment on their social media profiles (Example: Rotoura canopy tours).

travelers photo, travel, tours, activity, photos, mountains, nature, bicycle, bicycles, bicyclists, sport, vacation, tour photos Image source: Ebay.de

3. Think about timing. For shooting landscapes, lighting is crucial and the best light is 1 – 2 hours after sunrise and before sunset. If you’re guiding a morning and/or an evening tour, that’s the best time for shooting. During the day, the ideal position is when the sun is behind you and your subject is in front of you. If you’re holding tours during the midday when the sun is high up, it’s better to go indoors. Photograph your travelers inside of museums, cafes, markets, or restaurants where they eat some traditional food.

sunset travel, reflection, photos, mountains, lake, nature, fog, boat, sailing, tours, vacation, activity, cameraImage source: Pinterest.com

10 Tips for the Best Photo

Only you can add a story to your pictures so they can evoke emotions. But these tips can help you make your tour photos more interesting and eye pleasing.

1. Always hold the phone horizontally with both hands. Be still or use a tripod to exclude shaking. Glif is one of the best tripods for iPhone.

2. Use the rule of thirds for best composition. When you look through your screen, imagine three horizontal and vertical lines that are crossing and giving 9 rectangles. The subject you shot should be placed where the lines intersect. You can use grids on your phone. If you’re taking a picture of a person, the focus should be on his/her eyes.

rule of thirds, focus, tips, camera, taking a photo, photos, beach, toursImage source: Eyeem.com

3. If you’re taking pictures at night, ISO (camera’s level of sensitivity to light) need to be higher, for example, 3200 or more.

ISO photo travel, rules, tips, photos, camera, taking a photo, night photographyImage source: Grootbos.com

4. Play with focus effects with blurry foregrounds or backgrounds. If you’re using phone download Camera + app and use its clarity filter.

5. Try not to use the zoom, better move closer to your subject or take the photo from the distance and crop it later.

6. Photograph something in the foreground that scale landscape in the background. For example, a house, a rock, an animal or even better a human in front of a mountain, can give a great perspective.

foreground travel photo, photos, nature, mountains, trees, forest, woods, fog, lake, boat, tours, activity Image source: Pronaturephotographer.com

7. Use nature to frame your subject. Fame it with vegetation like branches and trees or you can frame it with doors and windows.

frame, framing, camera, photo, photos, taking a photo, creative, black and white, night photographyImage source: Flickr.com

8. When you’re shooting an attraction in the area where you’re having your tour, try not to be obvious. You can take the picture from a different angle, e.g. from a low angle or from above or on a rainy day. Take pictures of reflections in the water, mirrors, sunglasses, glass, metallic surfaces.. and roads, train tracks, and paths through the woods to create a sense of depth. Use your imagination and unleash your creative juices to avoid shooting postcard pictures.

mirror travel, reflection, photos, travel, travelers, vacation, colors, contrast, sea, beach, sky, tours, activity, sunglasses Image source: Iai.tv

9. If you want to freeze the movement of some action (surfing, running, a sun rising, traffic, crowd), you can do that simply by using the burst mode on your phone or professionally using fast shutter mode on your camera or iPhone with Camera + app. The other option is to show the motion of some action by using a longer shutter speed. A good app for iPhone is Slow shutter cam.

fast shutter, taking a photo, photos, camera, tips, surf, surfing, surfer, sea, summer, vacation, tours, activity, travelImage source: Cretiaphotograpgy.blogspot.com

10. Be simple. Use a lot of empty space such as sky, water, wall and so on, to emphasize your subject and get better reactions from your viewers.

What’s Next?

Post the tour photos on your blog and on every social media you can. Describe them properly, use the right hashtags, include backlinks leading to your booking page. We have collected some interesting stats that show how pictures are important in today’s online promotion.

statistic photos marketing, statistics, rules, tips, advices, marketing, photos, travel, tours, activity, social media, engagement

And the most important thing, give photos to your travelers. Tag them on social media and have them spread virally. According to Social Media Link, people hear about products from social media before any other source. Social media posts from friends and family directly impact on purchasing decision on 81 % of people (Forbes). Smiling faces in exceptional nature are the best free marketing and best introduction to 100s of your new potential customers.

travel, photos, tours, activity, vacation, bicycle, bicycles, bicyclists, people, nature, sky, riding a bicycle, helmet Image source: Gadventures.com

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